Always liked the idea of getting into bodyboarding? Learn about the foundation of the sport and how it is good for fitness.

Bodyboarding offers thrill seekers a bracing and exciting experience which at the same time boosts the body's muscular performance and coordination skills. Sometimes thought of as the easier alternative to surfing, the actual reality is far from that as once past the beginner skills, bodyboarding is every bit as tough as surfing. There are lots more moves and tricks in bodyboarding compared to surfing and once you get the hang of how to ride, the rush from riding the waves is unbeatable.

It is unclear where bodyboarding was first developed, but one school of thought believes that the discipline was the original form of surfing. According to this theory, the bodyboard was developed from the ancient Hawaiian Paipo surfboard, which was ridden while lying down.

Bodyboarding involves a lot more trickery than surfing; riding in a straight line is pretty much frowned upon. It’s all about riding up the lip of a wave at tremendous speed and then launching into the air to perform tricks.

A bodyboard, which is known as a ‘sponge’ in surf speak, is made from a rectangular piece of foam and is a lot shorter than a surfboard. Generally, the bodyboard is ridden while lying down, although some boarders will ride it in a half-stand position, sometimes even standing up the whole way. It’s a whole lot of fun, and is much easier to pick up than surfing — catching one wave is enough to hook you. But be prepared when starting out; you’re going to get dumped by more waves than you catch.

Health and fitness benefits of bodyboarding

Bodyboarding is a great way to improve your body’s muscular strength while having a great time in open water. Here are some of the key health benefits of bodyboarding:

  • Improves the muscular strength of your arms, with strong directional paddling sometimes required.
  • Develops leg muscles, with the legs initially propelling the bodyboard in the water.
  • Boosts coordination skills, with concentration and balance required to stay on the board.
  • Refreshes the mind, with the combination of the sea air and bracing waves providing the perfect environment.
  • Helps to strengthen the cardiovascular system, with the heart and lungs working more effectively to pump oxygen round the bloodstream to the body’s muscles.